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Change a skeptic's mind?


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#46 ohreally?

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 02:48 PM

What does posting a jpeg of the Weekly World News have to do with evidence?



I posted it for the glaringly obvious reason as being an example of very bad evidence for practically anyone looking at it. That's the way skeptics in general look at the body of evidence presented so far by the paranormal community as being of poor quality thus not compelling enough to change our minds. Just consider for one moment this. Humanity has had at least 10,000 years of recorded history to show that there is something to any of the things people believe yet to date not one shred of incontrovertible evidence has been found. One should ask themselves why that is so ? And you should also ask why is the ace in the hole best and most often used evidence put forth anecdotal ? If changing the minds of skeptics is a goal then the evidence has to be much much better than it is-period.

#47 stevenedel

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 06:52 AM

For me, a skeptic is one who wants evidence before accepting something as true. Those who engage in research should be skeptics by this definition. I separate this term with 'pseudoskeptic' however.

The pseudoskeptic is probably what many people think of when they hear or read the term skeptic. The pseudoskeptic is as much a practitioner of beliefs as any so-called 'believer.' The belief system of the pseudosketpic is monastic materialism based in a belief of the supremacy of science. This is not science but is indeed 'scientism', yet another belief system.


So to be a true skeptic according to your definition I need to discard my materialistic world view, even though there is no evidence at all for the existence of a non-material alternative? But by doing that I would violate your definition of what a skeptic is, "one who wants evidence before accepting something as true". All the evidence we have points consistently to the correctness of a materialistic view.

I do think there is much common ground between factions who are indeed 'open-minded', the definition of which is anyone willing to change their belief systems in the presence of reasonable evidence and who avoids deciding on the validity of such evidence solely based on a prior beliefs.


It is not clear to me what you are proposing here. Evidence can be judged indepenently from any belief, but not independently from scientific, methodological rigour - and I somewhat fear that you are implying that this scientific method is also a belief. Correct me if I am wrong. But if I am right, what is the alternative you propose?

Final note: not all evidence can be produced in a lab. Experience counts as evidence as well. In fact, if we are dealing with non-material and non-physical events, it may well be the case that expecting to 'prove' such things materialistically will turn out to have been quite foolish in future retrospect.


Experience may count as evidence, but only if it can at least be made intersubjective, or objectified in another way. The subjective, individual experience as such can never be valid proof in a scientific sense of something paranormal outside the person, because we will never be able to establish where the experience originated, and because it is always possible that the mind itself created it. There are more than a few people in institutions who firmly feel that they are Jesus, or the sun, but the fact that this is their experience doesn't make it true.

If we were dealing with non-material, non-physical events, none of us would have experience of them. But we aren't, just look around on these boards. Paranormal phenomena purportedly manifest themselves in the physical world in countless ways: blurs on photographs, noises on tapes, objects moving, predictions and statements regarding the real world made by so-called mediums. (In fact, the casual supposition that immaterial beings can interact with our material world is one of the most serious problems paranormal believers need to solve, as it uproots all established physics. How does it work?). Of course such things can be very well tested under lab-like conditions.

Lowering the standards of evidence, or worse, tailoring the criteria in such a way as to fit what you have (or rather, what you don't have), is unworthy of any true skeptic, and hence any researcher.

Unless you can enlighten me how you are proposing to gather 'non-material' evidence and judge its validity?

I would recommend Dr. Charles T. Tart's new book "The End of Materialism" for a well-written and highly readable overview on the difference between science and scientism from a scientist who has made it his life's work to follow a spiritual path and truly sees ways that science and spirituality (not religion) can integrate.


I'm always surprised at this strange notion that science and spirituality should somehow be at odds with each other. I find science enormously spiritually uplifting. It brings understanding in a way unmatched by anything else. It triggers deep questions about the origins and meaning of existence (even if it doesn't answer them - but then, neither do all the fashionable 'spiritual' guru's, they only pretend to; - I really do feel that ever since New Age came along the term spirituality has been seriously cheapened, been made into a childish, consumerist plaything. True spirituality, I'd say, lies in an understanding of what science tells us about the universe and our place in it, the nature of reality, and in the effort to find meaning and beauty in that.)
Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. (Carl Sagan)

#48 ohreally?

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 10:54 AM


I'm constantly surprised just how difficult it is for believers to grasp the simple ideas you have put forth. My surprise extends back some 30 years.

#49 canuck

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 07:08 PM

I'm always surprised at this strange notion that science and spirituality should somehow be at odds with each other. I find science enormously spiritually uplifting. It brings understanding in a way unmatched by anything else. It triggers deep questions about the origins and meaning of existence (even if it doesn't answer them - but then, neither do all the fashionable 'spiritual' guru's, they only pretend to; - I really do feel that ever since New Age came along the term spirituality has been seriously cheapened, been made into a childish, consumerist plaything. True spirituality, I'd say, lies in an understanding of what science tells us about the universe and our place in it, the nature of reality, and in the effort to find meaning and beauty in that.)


I am shocked and horrified.

The impossible has come to pass!

I find that I actually agree with something Steven has said!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now if only Steven could manage to draw the connection between many of the truly mysterious aspects identified by mainstream science and many of the topics discussed on these pages .......................................!!!!!!!

Connect the dots and the mind boggles at what may happen next!!!!!

#50 stevenedel

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 03:45 AM

Now if only Steven could manage to draw the connection between many of the truly mysterious aspects identified by mainstream science and many of the topics discussed on these pages .......................................!!!!!!!


And which connection would that be, exactly...? Because as you say, I really don't see it. Help this poor blind fellow along, I beg you...
Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. (Carl Sagan)

#51 ohreally?

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 07:38 AM

I'm always surprised at this strange notion that science and spirituality should somehow be at odds with each other. I find science enormously spiritually uplifting. It brings understanding in a way unmatched by anything else. It triggers deep questions about the origins and meaning of existence (even if it doesn't answer them - but then, neither do all the fashionable 'spiritual' guru's, they only pretend to; - I really do feel that ever since New Age came along the term spirituality has been seriously cheapened, been made into a childish, consumerist plaything. True spirituality, I'd say, lies in an understanding of what science tells us about the universe and our place in it, the nature of reality, and in the effort to find meaning and beauty in that.)


I am shocked and horrified.

The impossible has come to pass!

I find that I actually agree with something Steven has said!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now if only Steven could manage to draw the connection between many of the truly mysterious aspects identified by mainstream science and many of the topics discussed on these pages .......................................!!!!!!!

Connect the dots and the mind boggles at what may happen next!!!!!


Connect just a few dots. I'd like to see what I'm missing.

#52 canuck

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 10:43 PM

Only too happy to help with your education.

To make things easy, I will cite two instances:

1. In contemporary mainstream physics and cosmology, it is held that around 96% of the universe is composed of dark matter and dark energy. The theory holds that while we can’t see this stuff, and have been unable to detect it, it does exist. Furthermore it does interact with the balance 4% of the universe; this 4% being us, and all of what we can see.

The issue relevant issue here is that those that believe this theory, seem to have some difficulty making the logical extensions and extrapolations of this theory.

Ie: if 4% of the universe is us and all that we can see, then logically the other 96% could also contain corresponding life forms and forms of existence that we can only imagine.

By extension, what we in our 4% perceive as “supernatural” events and life forms may, in fact, be manifestations of dark matter and energy impinging on our universe.

2. Mainstream physics is enamored with String Theory. This theory holds that there exist an infinite number of universes, and each has at least twelve “dimensions”. Furthermore, these universes intersect with ours, and affect ours.

This being the case, it is a logical inference that if these universes are interacting with ours, then the manifestation of these interactions may be what we perceive as “supernatural” events.

In both of these instances, the relevant issue is that “mainstream science” is perfectly happy to accept any theory, provided it comes from someone wearing a white lab coat. However, having accepted a theory, there seems to be a total inability to expand that theory into its logical wider issues.

#53 Robot

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 05:51 AM

Only too happy to help with your education.

To make things easy, I will cite two instances:

1. In contemporary mainstream physics and cosmology, it is held that around 96% of the universe is composed of dark matter and dark energy. The theory holds that while we can’t see this stuff, and have been unable to detect it, it does exist. Furthermore it does interact with the balance 4% of the universe; this 4% being us, and all of what we can see.

The issue relevant issue here is that those that believe this theory, seem to have some difficulty making the logical extensions and extrapolations of this theory.

Ie: if 4% of the universe is us and all that we can see, then logically the other 96% could also contain corresponding life forms and forms of existence that we can only imagine.

By extension, what we in our 4% perceive as “supernatural” events and life forms may, in fact, be manifestations of dark matter and energy impinging on our universe.

2. Mainstream physics is enamored with String Theory. This theory holds that there exist an infinite number of universes, and each has at least twelve “dimensions”. Furthermore, these universes intersect with ours, and affect ours.

This being the case, it is a logical inference that if these universes are interacting with ours, then the manifestation of these interactions may be what we perceive as “supernatural” events.

In both of these instances, the relevant issue is that “mainstream science” is perfectly happy to accept any theory, provided it comes from someone wearing a white lab coat. However, having accepted a theory, there seems to be a total inability to expand that theory into its logical wider issues.


OH LORDY!

Here we go.......................................

May I ask what FORMAL Physics EDUCATION you have? The "Physics" you speak of is mostly laymanized coffee table book stuff.

1. "In contemporary mainstream physics and cosmology, it is held that around 96% of the universe is composed of dark matter and dark energy." Are you really sure about this? How many current college texts state this? Can you name one?

2."Mainstream physics is enamored with String Theory. This theory holds that there exist an infinite number of universes, and each has at least twelve “dimensions”. Furthermore, these universes intersect with ours, and affect ours." Funny my Modern Physics College text speaks little of string theory, are you sure it is "Mainstream Physics"

Could you please define "Maninstream Physics"? Have you ever been a member of any Physics organizations? What Physics sites do you contribute to?Which Professors do you correspond with?

I would enjoy some deep Physics conversations with an "EXPERT", you seem more knowledgable than the (3) Professors I currently correspond with.

Edited by Robot, 30 March 2010 - 05:53 AM.

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.(Proverbs 18:2)http://www.ghostphysics.blogspot.com./

#54 stevenedel

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 07:50 AM

Only too happy to help with your education.

To make things easy, I will cite two instances:

1. In contemporary mainstream physics and cosmology, it is held that around 96% of the universe is composed of dark matter and dark energy. The theory holds that while we can’t see this stuff, and have been unable to detect it, it does exist. Furthermore it does interact with the balance 4% of the universe; this 4% being us, and all of what we can see.

The issue relevant issue here is that those that believe this theory, seem to have some difficulty making the logical extensions and extrapolations of this theory.

Ie: if 4% of the universe is us and all that we can see, then logically the other 96% could also contain corresponding life forms and forms of existence that we can only imagine.

By extension, what we in our 4% perceive as “supernatural” events and life forms may, in fact, be manifestations of dark matter and energy impinging on our universe.

2. Mainstream physics is enamored with String Theory. This theory holds that there exist an infinite number of universes, and each has at least twelve “dimensions”. Furthermore, these universes intersect with ours, and affect ours.

This being the case, it is a logical inference that if these universes are interacting with ours, then the manifestation of these interactions may be what we perceive as “supernatural” events.

In both of these instances, the relevant issue is that “mainstream science” is perfectly happy to accept any theory, provided it comes from someone wearing a white lab coat. However, having accepted a theory, there seems to be a total inability to expand that theory into its logical wider issues.


Imagine that! All this fuss about a big Hadron Collider, and all the time the evidence they are looking for is right there in every orb picture and EVP! Stupid scientists!

Sorry Canuck, but this is not connecting dots - this is the gross misapplication of vaguely understood science to delude oneself into believing that anything goes. And do be careful when speaking of logic, it doesn't appear to be your strong point.
Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. (Carl Sagan)

#55 Robot

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 07:56 AM

Only too happy to help with your education.

To make things easy, I will cite two instances:

1. In contemporary mainstream physics and cosmology, it is held that around 96% of the universe is composed of dark matter and dark energy. The theory holds that while we can’t see this stuff, and have been unable to detect it, it does exist. Furthermore it does interact with the balance 4% of the universe; this 4% being us, and all of what we can see.

The issue relevant issue here is that those that believe this theory, seem to have some difficulty making the logical extensions and extrapolations of this theory.

Ie: if 4% of the universe is us and all that we can see, then logically the other 96% could also contain corresponding life forms and forms of existence that we can only imagine.

By extension, what we in our 4% perceive as “supernatural” events and life forms may, in fact, be manifestations of dark matter and energy impinging on our universe.

2. Mainstream physics is enamored with String Theory. This theory holds that there exist an infinite number of universes, and each has at least twelve “dimensions”. Furthermore, these universes intersect with ours, and affect ours.

This being the case, it is a logical inference that if these universes are interacting with ours, then the manifestation of these interactions may be what we perceive as “supernatural” events.

In both of these instances, the relevant issue is that “mainstream science” is perfectly happy to accept any theory, provided it comes from someone wearing a white lab coat. However, having accepted a theory, there seems to be a total inability to expand that theory into its logical wider issues.


Imagine that! All this fuss about a big Hadron Collider, and all the time the evidence they are looking for is right there in every orb picture and EVP! Stupid scientists!

Sorry Canuck, but this is not connecting dots - this is the gross misapplication of vaguely understood science to delude oneself into believing that anything goes. And do be careful when speaking of logic, it doesn't appear to be your strong point.


I may actually agree "somewhat" with Canuck, just not "his" Physics approach..................
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.(Proverbs 18:2)http://www.ghostphysics.blogspot.com./

#56 canuck

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 06:47 PM

A disappointing response from the pom pom team.

Sadly, the team doesn’t know the science, doesn’t understand the issue, and hasn’t got the imagination to understand the point.

I suggest the team spend some time in a library.

#57 stevenedel

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 05:18 AM

A disappointing response from the pom pom team.

Sadly, the team doesn’t know the science, doesn’t understand the issue, and hasn’t got the imagination to understand the point.

I suggest the team spend some time in a library.


Oh c'mon Canuck - you can do better than this feeble cop-out. Explain to us how dark matter and parallel universes create ghosts, and how this fits in with established physics.
Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. (Carl Sagan)

#58 ohreally?

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 08:30 AM

A disappointing response from the pom pom team.

Sadly, the team doesn’t know the science, doesn’t understand the issue, and hasn’t got the imagination to understand the point.

I suggest the team spend some time in a library.


Oh c'mon Canuck - you can do better than this feeble cop-out. Explain to us how dark matter and parallel universes create ghosts, and how this fits in with established physics.



This is the part where you have to open your mind and imagine the possibilities [but forget the implausibilities].

#59 stevenedel

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 12:46 PM

This is the part where you have to open your mind and imagine the possibilities [but forget the implausibilities].


Of course, I forgot; the part where you open your mind and let your brains fall out.
Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. (Carl Sagan)

#60 MoonChild

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 06:12 PM

To quote Celestine Prophecy:
"Not really", she replied/ "There are other gardens in that area. and the people there are prepared to talk with these kind of sceptics. We get more people like this through here occasionally, and now just scientists but curiosity seekers as well, people who can't begin to grasp what wre're doing..... which points out the problem that exists in scientific understanding".

"As I said before, the old sceptical attitude was great when exploting the more visible and obvious phenomena in the universe, such as trees or sunshine or thunderstorms. But there is another group is observable phenomena, more subtle, that you can't study - in fact, you can't even tell they're there at all - unless you suspend or bracket your scepticism and try every possible was to perceive the,. Once you can, then you return to your rigorous study".

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